Ag + Environment

Relief payments to Black farmers on hold amid lawsuits

BY: - June 25, 2021

WASHINGTON — Former Trump administration officials and conservative and libertarian nonprofits have launched lawsuits to block federal relief funds aimed at Black and minority farmers — a development that House Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott of Georgia calls “an evil system at work here.” Suits have been filed in Florida, Wisconsin and Texas that say […]

ethanol plant

SCOTUS ruling favors oil interests over ethanol, Iowans criticize decision

BY: - June 25, 2021

The U.S. Supreme Court has added stress to an already agitated ethanol industry, overturning a 10th Circuit Court decision and voting 6-3 to allow broader biofuels waivers for oil refineries. Dissenting judges said a waiver that never existed can’t be extended. The case revolved around whether small oil refineries can ask for a waiver if […]

U.S. House panel approves legislation to clean up toxic ‘forever chemicals’

BY: - June 24, 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee has approved major bipartisan legislation that aims to reduce Americans’ exposure to toxic chemicals in air, water and consumer products. The bill, the PFAS Action Act of 2021, led by Michigan Reps. Debbie Dingell, a Democrat, and Fred Upton, a Republican, was approved 33-20 late Wednesday. It […]

Biden picks Cindy McCain as UN food ambassador

BY: - June 23, 2021

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Wednesday tapped  Cindy McCain, the widow of former U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona, as the U.S. representative to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture, with the rank of ambassador. Earlier this year, Arizona Republicans voted to censure Cindy McCain and two other members of the state’s GOP, former […]

Grassley, Senate colleagues move to address power of meatpackers

BY: - June 23, 2021

U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa and other members of a key committee called Wednesday for legislation to reduce the power of four large packing companies that control more than 80% of the cattle market.  In a call with Iowa reporters, Grassley said many Iowa farmers are losing money on each animal while the packers […]

Murkowski to oppose Stone-Manning nomination, while Tester works to keep support among Dems

BY: - June 23, 2021

WASHINGTON — Another Republican senator plans to oppose President Joe Biden’s pick to lead the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, who has been targeted by conservatives over her connection to an Idaho tree-spiking scheme three decades ago. A spokeswoman for U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who serves on the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee, […]

Governor’s carbon panel excludes environmental groups

BY: - June 23, 2021

Gov. Kim Reynolds has appointed a task force on carbon sequestration that is devoid of representatives of Iowa environmental groups that have long studied the issue.  The panel named late Tuesday has representatives of agricultural companies, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, companies that promote carbon trading, Iowa State University, state agencies, biofuels interests, and the […]


Water quality ruling wasn’t one of the court’s finest moments

BY: - June 23, 2021

Through the long arc of history, the Iowa Supreme Court has developed a reputation for judicial courage that often puts it ahead of many other courts when crafting groundbreaking decisions before important legal concepts become widely accepted. The issues have been meaty, and controversial, especially here in the middle of America. Iowa has been a […]

Ernst, Minnesota colleagues push for biofuels support, end of waivers

BY: - June 22, 2021

GOP U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst joined Democratic colleague Sen. Tina Smith of Minnesota on Tuesday to push for stronger support of biofuels.  They were joined at a Senate subcommittee hearing that Smith chaired by Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar, also of Minnesota. Klobuchar cited a recent chorus of rumor-fueled complaints alleging the Biden administration may be […]

Biden to meet with Western governors about wildfires, vows to raise firefighter pay

BY: - June 22, 2021

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said Tuesday that he will host a meeting next week of Western governors, Cabinet members and Federal Emergency Management Agency officials “to prepare for heat, drought and wildfires in the West.” Biden at a White House FEMA briefing also sharply criticized the low salaries paid to federal wildland firefighters. “There’s […]

Endangered species to get a reprieve under Biden administration plans

BY: - June 20, 2021

WASHINGTON — The lesser prairie-chicken, a rare dancing grouse once abundant on the Great Plains, could benefit again soon from the protection of the U.S. government. So could the rusty patched bumblebee, a black-headed pollinator that at one time ranged from Georgia to Maine and across the Midwest. The Biden administration is rewriting how it protects endangered species […]

Experts: Fixing Iowa waterways will take legislation, legal action and $5B

BY: - June 18, 2021

Fixing Iowa’s significant water-quality problems will take a brew of legal action and legislation and $5 billion, two experts told Iowa PBS Friday. Des Moines Water Works CEO Ted Corrigan and Iowa Flood Center co-founder Larry Weber said on “Iowa Press” that Friday’s decision by the Iowa Supreme Court to dismiss environmental groups’ lawsuit seeking […]